Many people in the UK suffer from itchy, watery and irritated eyes on a daily basis. This can be attributed to many things, but surprisingly, lots of people never bother to speak to their optician about it. Instead, they rely on over-the-counter treatments rather than trying to find out what is causing the issue.
Suffering from eye allergies isn’t a rare thing, however, the cause of the allergy can wildly differ from person to person. This means that an over-the-counter treatment which works on one person with stinging eyes won’t necessarily work on another person with stinging eyes.
Some people feel that they don’t want to ‘bother’ their optician with an eye allergy if they think that they are merely suffering with hay fever or a dust mite allergy. But you may be surprised to know that, just like when you suffer with another type of allergy, there are tests that we can carry out to identify what exactly is causing the reaction.
And there is nothing to be worried about when it comes to allergy testing. Your optician will guide you through the process, and triggers can commonly be found by taking a careful history from you. In a few cases, your optician may want to test your tear-film. They will do this by carefully introducing known-allergens to the tear-film and monitoring the reaction.
Once a trigger is identified, your optician will advise that you avoid it, but we know that this is often unhelpful as many triggers are almost impossible to avoid – avoiding pollen, for example, would take be a military operation! You will then also be prescribed the appropriate treatment that specifically targets the effects of your allergy.
Eye drops containing anti-histamine and steroids are common treatments, but your optician will recommend the best course of treatment depending on many factors, including your eye and health history.
Of course, sometimes what you have thought is an allergy turns out to be an entirely different condition, like dry eye for example. This is another great reason to speak to your optician instead of buying over-the-counter treatments; using a treatment to cure the wrong problem won’t ease your symptoms.
At Eye Emporium, we are always happy to speak to a patient if they are concerned that they may have an allergy that affects their eyes. Testing is important and, in some rare cases, allergy testing has saved people’s sight.
If you’re worried that you have an eye allergy, if your eyes are uncomfortable, or if you’d just like to arrange your next eye examination, call the team here at Eye Emporium on 0800 020 9202.